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Thread: Morality Question for Internet Marketers

  1. #11
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    However if you could help them in some way, and make money at the same time while truly helping them to improve their situation rather then making it worse, why wouldn't you want to do this.
    Funny you mention this Joel. I was thinking of the very same thing this morning. All of the niches mentioned could be sold something that would truly help them in some way. At the same time you might still prey on their fears a little to make the sale. Maybe your sales pitch to the gambler is:

    Your last bet put you in debt?
    Fat Tony ready to break your thumbs for his cash?

    Don't let your gambling ruin your life. Learn how to overcome your gambling problem with our 12 step program.

    Ok, not the best copy, but hopefully it's enough to make the point. It's clearly using fear to help sell a product. Assuming the product is good (say it has a 75% success rate) is it still spam to sell to the gambler?

    @Harold - I'd be more inclined to say he's crossed the line, but it's not an easy answer. If I owned a Ferrari dealership and sold you a Ferrari is it crossing the line because you really couldn't afford it. Your paperwork cleared. Your credit was fine. But you'd just lost your job. So you were sold something that you wanted, but isn't going to do you any good. I don't think any of us would find fault with the Ferrari dealer.

    How different is the scenario. Jeff Paul is selling something someone wants that won't do them any good either. Again I'd lean toward him crossing the line, but doesn't the buyer need to take some of the responsibility too.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    ......

    @Harold - I'd be more inclined to say he's crossed the line, but it's not an easy answer. If I owned a Ferrari dealership and sold you a Ferrari is it crossing the line because you really couldn't afford it. Your paperwork cleared. Your credit was fine. But you'd just lost your job. So you were sold something that you wanted, but isn't going to do you any good. I don't think any of us would find fault with the Ferrari dealer.

    How different is the scenario. Jeff Paul is selling something someone wants that won't do them any good either. Again I'd lean toward him crossing the line, but doesn't the buyer need to take some of the responsibility too.
    The exact same argument could be made for the mortgage industry 3 years ago. I knew many people who were in the industry at the time and they knew that they were putting people in homes that they couldn't afford, but it was legal. The only thing that they were concerned with was getting financing, and the only thing management was concerned with was finding a buyer for the paper.

    Yes, the buyer should take on much of the responsibility. I think that if you really believed back then that you could afford a $400,000 house, on a 30 year adjustable, while making $50,000 a year, you were kidding yourself.

    The same goes for anyone that truly thinks that sending in $39.95 is going to unlock the gates to a $10,000 a month income, with no training, and little work.

    Selling people dreams is big business, and always has been, but, is it "Money at all cost, as long as it's technically legal?"

    I can't do it. I have contemplated selling "How to make money online." type ebooks, and products, to make some quick cash, especially now, but I just can't put my name, or even a fake name on something I know to be generalized garbage.

    As far as Jeff Paul goes...I fully expect to see him going the way of Tom Vu. Federal indictment, assets seized, and jail time. He is doing the oldest cons in the book. Bait and Switch, Junk Bonds, Snake Oil, Misrepresentation, all combined with automatic billing. Just like every other scam like it, before him.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 01-15-2009 at 03:03 PM.

  3. #13

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    I can tell you this. At the end of the .com bust in 1999, I was selling equipment for a startup company. The equipment was two years two late. An Israeli company already had a better working product. Our product wasn't even close to working and was a poorer technology.

    A distributor in Central America wanted to quote our equipment. $1M or so. I could have done that, but we could never deliver and the customer would probably not have bought the equipment anyway. I told the distributor the truth. I effectively got fired because of that. I resigned, but that was in place of getting fired. Company failed a couple of months later anyway.

    I would have been putting my distributors credibility on the line with his customer and I wasn't willing to do that. It was that distributors largest customer. They were selling millions to them yearly.

    For something like get rich quick ebooks, I don't know if I would do it or not. If it has value if someone actually followed through with it, then I probably wouldn't have a problem. If it is a chain letter / pyramid sort of scheme etc.; there are plenty of other credible products out there to sell.

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    Good example Harold. I think we're pretty much all in agreement about Jeff Paul and I do hope it's clear I wouldn't enter these markets or look to take advantage of people. Maybe my example wasn't the best. What I see though in most every discussion of spam is people talking like it's a black and white issue when it's really shades of gray that often get very fuzzy somewhere in the middle.

    Let's consider the typical ebook. I've read a few promising riches in the sales pitch that turned out to have solid advice. No one would get rich reading them, but the books were worth the few dollars they sold for. If even one or two tips were followed they would pay for the cost of the book. The sales letter still looks like complete spam and does sell on the negative emotions we've mentioned. Many times the advice inside was worth the price of the ebook, though may not much more. Is the whole thing spam? I don't know. I suspect some would say yes and others no.
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    IMHO it really comes down to two things: the seller's conscience and the Buyer's diligence.

    A young inexperienced seller may honestly believe one of these ridiculous get rich quick schemes can really help you make a ton of money and so with his rose-colored glasses he proceeds to spend his hard-earned cash promoting it hoping both to help others and make a few bucks himself.

    In turn, a savvy young lady investigates the scheme and finds 4,000 complaints against it at the BBB and decides it's not the package for her deciding the kid selling it is a useless scumbag.

    The kid is not in fact a scumbag, just an inexperienced bonehead who was not smart enough to do his own due diligence prior to offering the product up for sale. After selling a few "get-rich-quick" packages and having to refund a lot of money perhaps he will learn his lesson.

    The bottom line is: it's not always about ethics. It can simply be a lack of experience. Just believing in a product doesn't make it ethical to sell it. It requires due diligence. It requires enough experience to know you aren't getting yourself or others into legal trouble or possibly endangering lives (as in the case of selling health products or products where a person could be put in physical danger (such as say faulty cryogenic valves).

    Lots of people have died due to people selling products they truly believed in but knew nothing about.
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    Seolman i think that you are very correct in what you say. I do also believe that due diligence is maybe the number one thing that is so often over looked by potential customers.
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    A young inexperienced seller may honestly believe one of these ridiculous get rich quick schemes can really help you make a ton of money and so with his rose-colored glasses he proceeds to spend his hard-earned cash promoting it hoping both to help others and make a few bucks himself.
    That's one of the main reasons why I don't like people accusing people of spamming. I've seen quite a few naive people promoting something that leaned to the spammy side of things, but the people didn't strike me as bad people. Just misinformed. I've seen a few get shouted down as being a spammer instead of the situation being explained to them. Someone who accuses others and labels them without any real proff strikes me as a far worse crime than an email I don't want showing up in my inbox or someone dropping a link on a forum post.
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    I tend to go with my gut in these sorts of situations. If it seems wrong to me, than I won't do it, regardless of what others might think.

    Not everyone is like me and I do think due diligence is definitely the name of the game. Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) has survived as part of our language for a reason. In a perfect world it would be the seller's job to only sell us good products and services but we don't live in a perfect world. People need to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Do your research before you buy.

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    Going with your gut can be a good spam detector. It's not perfect though. I agree with caveat emptor. I think of the Nigerian email scam. The one where a some Nigerian prince contacts you telling you he'll wire millions to your account if you first wire him some money to help clear his money through channels.

    Now the people who send this out are pretty disgusting, but I don't really feel sorry for the people who fall for it. I mean how much thought does it take to realize it's a scam. Because Nigerian princes are always finding my email and wanting to give me millions.
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    I agree Vangogh, additionally though, how often do you find yourself with an entry to a lottery you have never heard of, let alone remembering to enter it.
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